disclaimer: Of Good Nature is a Montauk Music client. This is the press release for their new single.
Of Good Nature unveils the premier single, “Life Worth Livin” off of their forthcoming album of the same name, which is set for a October 23 release.
Four years have passed since their well-received debut album Just Add Water, with the band expanding from three to four members, introducing trombone into their new material. Lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Cameron Brown is confident this lineup has the right dynamic and talent to exceed the success of their debut album, which garnered Nashville’s Indie Ville TV Reggae Album of the Year.
Brown grew up learning piano from his grandmother, then picked up a guitar at 14 when he saw his brother learning to play and decided that he had to learn as well, lest he be outshined by his younger sibling. Brown and his guitar have been more or less inseparable since then, initially playing the music that strongly influenced him growing up–mostly Hendrix and the blues, but as he got a bit older reggae music made a big impression on him, to the point where Brown says, “Reggae always felt right.”
“Life Worth Livin” has the feel of a tried and true reggae jam, though Brown’s skillful blending of influential styles is evident. The song was an easy choice for the band to choose as their first single because they feel that we as a nation have changed, and that the message will resonate with Americans who feel and see this every day and wonder what has happened. The lyrics allude to this collect shift, and that what we stand for is slowly being lost.
The song came to Brown during a writing session at his favorite spot on Lake Wylie in Charlotte, NC last summer. Ruminating on the state of our nation, the lyrics “We used to be, we the people, unity,” were written to reflect that the changes so many of us feel contradict the Constitution of the United States.
Howi Spangler, lead singer of Ballyhoo, gave the song strong praise: “The intro guitar/bass riff has that 311-shuffle vibe that I like. I dig that lazy trombone there too. I also like how the song goes more uptempo in the bridge, almost like a jam band. Then they bring it back down to finish it out. Nice to hear a solid American reggae rock song from an East Coast band. It’s very easy to get cheesy with it and these guys don’t go there with “Life Worth Livin”.”
“Live Worth Livin” was recorded at Ocean Industries Studio in Charleston, SC, which is owned by Shinedown bassist Eric Bass. It was produced and engineered by Eric Rickert and Jeff Leonard Jr. (A song they engineered,”Cut The Cord”-Shinedown, just spent 12 weeks at #1 on the Billboard rock chart–It’s now #2.) It was mixed by Eric Rickert and mastered by Michael White.
The title track single “Life Worth Livin” is available for download 9/25 and on 10/23 the full length album will be available on iTunes and other platforms.
About Of Good Nature: While touring the East Coast, Of Good Nature has rocked festivals such as Shamrock Fest (Washington, DC)…sharing the stage with Rock/Reggae powerhouse Sublime with Rome. During this time, the band also focused on creating and getting back in the studio to capture the new sounds and additions to the group. Their lineup is: Cameron Brown – Guitar/Vocals; Joey Vachon – Drums/Vocals; Brandon Hucks – Trombone; Jon Reed – Bass.
“I hope you weren’t planning on taking any drug tests soon, because you sure as hell won’t pass!”
On Thursday, July 16th, I was able to see Slightly Stoopid with the Dirty Heads play at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland. Continuing my efforts towards catching big local shows, something that was on a tiny bit of a break, I was very excited to see my first, real, big venue surf reggae show, and it paid off. Playing at the Pier Six Pavilion across the Inner Harbor from the Aquarium, I don’t think there could be any better venues for a show like this, save a California beach that each one of these groups is all too familiar with.
Before I physically got into the concert, I was notified by the beneficiary who was able to get me the tickets that I should be on the lookout for a very awesome energy. Slightly Stoopid and the Dirty Heads, despite the slightly similar geographic influence and paths to stardom, have never toured together. This was the first time that most, if not everyone in the area would have been able to see both bands playing together on the same bill. It was apparent from my first steps in that the energy my boss spoke about was already rising. One could even argue that the energy was… high.
The first thing I noticed getting in was how pretty the physical backdrop of the concert was. A beautiful day on the Inner Harbor set the scene for youthful festivity. It seemed hard to believe that this same city, beaming in the summer sun, was tearing itself apart at the seams and burning itself to the ground only a few months ago. Everything felt safe. Security guards joined in with the elevated fun that swept over the crowd like a haze. The overwhelming presence of youth at this concert, with the majority of audience members looking like they be anywhere from high school to college aged, was another very different energy that I had never felt before on such a wide scale.
While the absence of locally brewed National Bohemian was apparent and missed, the setup for the night was fine. Crowds on the lawn and in the seated areas with two easy access points made the trip in a walk in the park, all the while being able to look out and enjoy your time on the water.
Kicking the night off was The Expendables, based out of Santa Cruz, California. Considered a reggae rock band, I was able to hear more influences than just basic reggae and rock. Noted, it was classic surf reggae, but the heavier based distortion coming through the guitars and out the amplifiers made for a very special tone that accompanied the rhythmic beats. While too much being tied together could give anyone a headache, The Expendables were able to put it together. Playing hits such as “Down Down Down”, “Sacrifice”, and “Bowl for Two”, a definite crowd favorite, The Expendables were able to kick off the night with high energy. Almost too high. For the time of day with the sun shining down, pretty much ruining any chance at stage lighting, this band was seriously ready to amp it up. And I personally do not think that the crowd was ready be so amped up quite that much.
Combining the efforts of two guitars, a bass, and drum kit, this high octane set was not willing to let any sound go unnoticed, from what seemed to be heavy metal shredding to an island jam. This kind of “island shredding” was technically very cool. But, the surrounding atmosphere may not have been the best for it. If you are into party rock, I would highly advise to check out some of their work around the internet. But this group definitely seemed much more primed to play a darker, closer to night time, arena, or even big bar gig. While their music was not bad at all, I think that some liberties could have been taken by the group to play more in the mood. I am not defending having different sounding opening acts by any means. For example, without Van Halen completely blowing Black Sabbath off the stage every night they opened for them back in the late 70’s, would they have been so big, so quickly? While that discussion may be for another article, I definitely think that keeping up with the reggae hits that The Expendables did so well to begin with, as well as being able to keep the crowd going with, would have made for an even better opening than the one they had.
The second group of the night was none other than The Dirty Heads. Another reggae – rock fusion band coming from Huntington Beach, with the current line up being active members since 2003, there is not much to say other than these guys absolutely killed it. With the sun beginning to set to allow the light show to kick in as well as even more people filling in to begin the festivities, this was definitely a notable point in the night in which the music matched the mood masterfully. Playing songs like “Lay Me Down” and my new personal favorite for the night, “Medusa”, The Dirty Heads were able to pump some amazing jams and blow the collective minds of the audience. With a great crowd energy, I can safely say that I will be catching these guys if they come around again. Big venue, small venue, they put on a great show.
At this point in time, I feel it is only appropriate to talk about one of the most memorable observations I was able to take away from this specific show.
I have never seen so much weed being smoked in one place, at one time, as I did that night.
There must have been a piece of something for every four or five people that were in attendance, all of which had to have been snuck in. And that absolutely did not go unnoticed by the performers on stage. It’s like the bands were amping all of the herbal based debauchery up, making people go even crazier than they would already. I think I should probably be pleading the fifth on this whole topic, but it is just too good not to bring up. It was clear that for every four or five people attending, there was something to go around. Even some security guards were getting in on the action. I thought that the guy vomiting at the Skynyrd show I saw earlier in the summer was funny, but the security guard trying to hit something way too aggressively while crouched in the middle of a circle of people? Easily topped that sight.
By the end of The Dirty Heads’ set, as the sun was setting into darkness, the haze that had spread over the crowd meant everyone was ready for one thing – for the highest (get it?) billed group to begin their performance. Pre gaming the crowd with 90’s hip hop accompanied with a modern bass, presumably from one of the musicians in the band, it was very clear that people, including myself, were ready to party. I don’t think anyone could have come up with anything better than playing early rap, such as 2Pac’s “California Love”, to get the final leg of the party started. With a great crowd energy and who knows how many musicians, from guitarists, bassists, singers, percussionists, keyboard players, and most importantly the horn section, coming on and off, joining the jam, Slightly Stoopid, the top billed performers of the night, played a great set. With every song’s melodic and rhythmic structure blending in almost feeling like one big jam, the waves of music pouring over the crowd made for a great Thursday night concert on the water.
Based out of Ocean Beach in San Diego, Slightly Stoopid, along with the rest of the groups for that matter, were able to bring the California state of mind to the East Coast. From the use of reggae, to rock, to ska, and anything else in between, the combination of party music and the youthful atmosphere for a nice night. It’s no secret that I want to end up in that area before I die. I talk about it all the time. The seemingly biggest center of industry for hard rock and surf reggae alike and everything in between, the West Coast seems like one of the places to be right now. Gigs like this are instrumental into bringing that California soul out of the one place where it comes from, and the one place that is incidentally, running out of water.
All in all, another great night. I consider myself a pretty lucky guy, but being able to go to events like these, party to great music, and meeting awesome people, is making this summer one I will remember. Personal quips aside, anyone looking for a great time with big time surf reggae music this summer is doing a disservice to themselves by not catching this tour. Seeing big concerts like this is always a pleasure, and with the tour only going until September, the opportunities to catch the one band second only to the progenitors of this whole genre, Sublime, accompanied by other hands down, amazing acts, is going quickly.
Coincidentally, the show they play in Colorado is already completely sold out. One could only imagine why.
Last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending an EP release party at the Metropolitan… Kitchen and Lounge located on West Street in Annapolis. Featuring both local and out-of-state bands and attended by an eclectic group of music lovers ranging from all walks of life, this specific release party was for the wildly popular local group, Bumpin’ Uglies. That night, the Uglies, featuring a stellar supporting cast, promoted their latest work: the extended play, “Freakout Hell Bus”.
Because of the bands that played, I was not only able to listen, but also able to gain a new level of appreciation for funky reggae and rock; some of the best genres to catch a serious groove with. Inspired by artists ranging from Sublime to Led Zeppelin, the musicianship that each group presented was great. While Bumpin Uglies headlined the night, three separate groups warmed their stage and crowd thanks to the arrangement of local industry player Mr. Justin Lasher, currently working for the full service event production company, First Level Productions.
The first act of the night was the local up-and-coming group, Freelance. Setting the tone for the night early, Freelance was able to bring in a solid crowd of what seemed to be younger audience members, just as interested in music as the usual suspects who frequent venues like this. Combining reggae – rock and alternative, these guys did a nice job kicking off the release party. While it was very clear that they were younger, more specifically high school-aged, they were able to bring a heavy energy to make up for any age barriers present. Musicians Trevor Prescott, vocals and guitar, Jesse Johnson, guitar, Luke Turner, bass, and Drew Creed, drums, are definitely some guys to keep on the radar.
The second group of the night was another one of the rare out-of-state gems that I seem to run into every time I go to venues like the Metropolitan. Amongst the Monks are a four piece from Corning, New York, and I can say without a doubt that these guys (and girl) blew my mind. While the audience sadly decreased in size from earlier, the groove of both the songs and instrumentals, like my personal favorite of the night, “Resting Bitch Face”, absolutely tore the room up. I was able to catch up with the Monks after their set, and learned more about them as a group. Originally a three piece trio featuring Phil Way on guitar and vocals, Ian Kull on bass, and Jeremy Bussmann on drums, the newest addition of vocalist Emily Plummer rounded out an extremely polished group clearly inspired by the likes of Zeppelin and other jam mastering greats. While watching, I honestly could not believe the lack of size of the crowd taking part in the performance. It is a shame that there were not many people watching and moving along with the band, but this group is poised to come back around soon enough. Hopefully then, the crowd will grow and amp up enough to bring the energy to an all time high – something that would put this group over the top.
Following Amongst the Monks was Prince George’s County based group Higher Education. As the darkness had crept into this point of the summer night, more and more people began to enter the venue to prepare for the headlining act. From the first minute of their set, it was clear that they were very polished, and very ready to have a great time. Featuring brothers Petey and Danny Devaney on guitar, bass, and vocals, as well as drummer Bradley Wilson, the extremely special sound of this band came from Saxophone player Dave Klein. While incredible instrumentalists in each of their own rights, the combination of a tight rock band featuring a horn section made for an indispensable sound. Dancing, singing, moving – the crowd were into these guys, and rightfully so. Seeing them for the first time sold me, and I can’t wait to hear what is next. Like every other group, energy was clearly brought, but the bigger audience turnout at this specific point of the night really set the island mood for what was coming next.
The last act and headliners of the event were none other than Bumpin’ Uglies. Presenting a wide variety of new and old songs, not much can be said about their performance aside from one word – fantastic. Matching extremely well written vocal lines and harmonies along with the tight instrumental performances of funky, Sublime inspired reggae-rock, the Uglies put on a great show. While each band shined in their own light, the stage presence and antics of lead singer and guitarist, Brandon Hardesty, made for arguably the most entertaining performance of the night. The rhythm section of Dave Wolf and TJ Haslett on the bass and drums, respectively, could not have been any tighter. These guys are seasoned pros, and it shows. If their music was not already cool enough, Brandon was willing to sit with me for a while before his set and chat. His story will be brought to you as a SurfRhythm exclusive as our next segment in Local Waves. Playing until past midnight, Bumpin’ Uglies closed out their party as any professionals would – keeping smiles on faces and the night alive for the audience. Truly, a job well done.
While watching and dancing to the musicians pouring their hearts and souls into this craft, I was able to notice the mix of people, both young and old, dancing, singing along, and just having a good time. As a commonly noted frequenter of many different styles of music, this gig stood out to me. It is truly mind blowing to know that there are groups working tirelessly, not always for the money and the fame, but just for the passion and to make their living doing what they love. This mindset seemed to be one of the connecting links between each group. While not playing the exact same types of music, the common theme of the heavy jam was strong with everyone. It just goes to show how cool it can be to have a good time with people, be it your friends, or someone you just met, and how the waves of melody can make your night.
All in all, this was a great gig to go to. Between the atmosphere, people, and most importantly the music, there was no negativity to be seen or heard. All of these bands are either currently on some form of tour or performance schedule. Attached below are the links to their respective pages and music, given in order to help anyone interested learn more about the bands, music, tour dates – the whole nine yards. Even if this kind of music is not your cup of tea, or case of beer for that matter, I highly recommend checking each one out. You will absolutely not be disappointed.
“On The Floor” Exclusive Premiere on TopShelf Reggae
Download “On The Floor” Exclusively from TopShelf Reggae
TopShelf Reggae is offering an exclusive download of 9 Mile Roots’ new song “On The Floor” on their website this week, under their Artist Spotlight series. The feature and download is live at https://topshelfreggae.com/news/artist-spotlight-9-mile-roots. “On The Floor” is the band’s first single from their forthcoming album, which will be titled ReEvolve, and is set for a release later this year.
Clearly not from the islands, 9 Mile Roots are not trying to act like they are, but reggae and rock is what they feel and what they make, unapologetically bassist/vocalist Josh Behun points out, “We may not be a vision of the typical dreadlocked reggae musician that would first come to mind – but reggae music has never been about what’s on the outside – music comes from the soul – and what drives us keeps us alive.” And when the suburbanite 8 piece hits the stage, they really turn on–their draw in and around the Delmarva area shows that, which is why they were able to secure a summer residency at the renowned Seacrets Nightclub, a legendary Eastern Shore party spot. In addition, they were recently added to the lineup for Reggae in the Park, on August 29, where they will join the likes of Damian and Stephen Marley for Philly’s biggest annual reggae festival.
9 Mile Roots consists of members Jay Randell (lead vocals/trumpet), Dave Muse (drums), Josh Behun (bass), Matt Huss (guitar, vocals), Ryan McDonough (guitar), Matt Foote (baritone sax), Casey Masters (trumpet), and Gabe Andino (tenor sax/vocals), 9 Mile Roots bring an intense and rich sound to their live performances, which seethe with an ample of amount of rock energy while keeping the reggae-tinged groove consistent throughout their favorite songs like the upbeat and uptempo “Kabuki” and the crunchy and funky “Simplify”.